Hometown: Los Angeles

Major & Minor: Sociology with LJSC subplan & Urban Studies minor

Campus Organizations: Executive Director of Detroit Urban Debate Education, Voice Your Vote, Two time University of Michigan Dining Iron Chef Champion

What inspired you to major in Sociology?

When I entered the University as a Freshmen, I was set on studying Mathematics, as it was my favorite course in high school. While taking my first Math course during my first semester at the University, I quickly learned that studying math was not right for me. I felt pretty lost, as I was dead set on what I would be studying — an experience I am sure many other undergraduates could relate to. I decided the best thing to do would be to dip my toes into fields I was not as experienced with, so I took a lot of introduction classes. It was Introduction to Sociology with Terry McGinn that pushed me to explore a Sociology major. It felt great to studying the social issues that I already cared so much about from a tangible and structural perspective.

Have you participated in an internship or research experience?

I have participated in an assortment of research projects within the Sociology department. My junior year I worked on a graduate student’s research project through the Sociology Undergraduate Research Opportunities program, analyzing and organizing observational data on gentrifying neighborhoods — a research interest of mine that I started thinking of in Professor Murphy’s Urban Inequality course. That same year I worked on Professor Murphy’s research team analyzing historical data on suburban neighborhoods. This year I am focusing on my own research, which I was able to conduct through the Sociology Honors program, exploring the way residents of gentrified neighborhoods perceive their neighbors.

I was able to pursue my interest in the law and urban sociology through the Semester in Detroit program over the past summer. Through the program, I got an internship at the United Community Housing Coalition, a non-profit that provides housing assistance to Detroit residents. At the housing coalition, I learned more about what housing issues impacted the communities around me. Additionally, I was trained on how to provide legal and economic counseling for low-income Detroit residents who were in tax foreclosure, a large social problem in Detroit.

What do you hope to do after graduating from Michigan?

I am still not completely sure what I want to do after graduating. I know that at some point I will be returning to higher education, possibly in the form of law school or a Ph.D. in Sociology. I want to work for a couple of years while I figure out which career path interests me the most. I am looking for jobs where I can pursue my passions for social research and public policy. I would love to work in Washington D.C., Chicago, or Detroit.

What classes have you most enjoyed? Why?

Urban Inequality (SOC 335) with Professor Alex Murphy has been one of my favorite Sociology classes, and I could write an entire essay on everything I learned there. The course opened my eyes to systemic issues revolving around where people live. Professor Murphy taught me to think about how the neighborhood one lives in impacts their life outcomes — a causality I understood but had never critically examined. Additionally, Professor Murphy taught about inequities in communities within and around Ann Arbor. It is incredibly important for students studying social problems to understand how and where they occur in their own communities, and Urban Inequality gave a great opportunity to do that.

I also loved Law and Society (SOC 354) with Professor Sandra Levitsky. Law and Society was incredibly well structured, engaging, and provided great insight on topics I had never thought about before. Professor Levitsky taught me the difference between looking at our legal institutions from the perspective of someone within the system — such as a lawyer or judge — and from the perspective of a social scientist who is trying to examine the ins and outs of that institution. I have carried the importance of that difference into my other courses.

What advice would you give to students considering a major in Sociology at UM?

Don’t be afraid to take classes that you are unsure of. The two classes I mentioned as my favorite courses, Urban Inequality and Law and Society, were ones I was not originally planning on taking. Because of changes in my schedule the week before each respective semester started, I found myself looking for Sociology courses that fit in. I was unsure if I would enjoy each class, but they were the only ones that fit my open time slots. I ended up loving them.

Additionally, be sure to form relationships with your GSIs and professors. This past year I have been provided incredible guidance from my GSIs and professors, past and present, as I have started forming plans for after graduation. Go to office hours more than I did!

Where is the best place in Ann Arbor to get late-night study food?

Pancheros - It gets the job done